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Neural PlasticityVolume 2013 2013, Article ID 956312, 12 pages

Research Article

Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56100 Pisa, Italy

Institute of Neuroscience of the CNR, 56124 Pisa, Italy

Pisa University, 56100 Pisa, Italy

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health, NEUROFARBA, Università di Firenze, Viale Pieraccini, 50100 Firenze, Italy

Received 4 April 2013; Accepted 15 June 2013

Academic Editor: Andrea Guzzetta

Copyright © 2013 Joyce Bonaccorsi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Environmental enrichment EE is known to enhance learning and memory. Declarative memories are thought to undergo a first rapid and local consolidation process, followed by a prolonged process of system consolidation, which consist in a time-dependent gradual reorganization of brain regions supporting remote memory storage and crucial for the formation of enduring memories. At present, it is not known whether EE can affect the process of declarative memory system consolidation. We characterized the time course of hippocampal and cortical activation following recall of progressively more remote spatial memories. Wild-type mice either exposed to EE for 40 days or left in standard environment were subjected to spatial learning in the Morris water maze and to the probe test 1, 10, 20, 30, and 50 days after learning. Following the probe test, regional expression of the inducible immediate early gene c-Fos was mapped by immunohistochemistry, as an indicator of neuronal activity. We found that activation of the medial prefrontal cortex mPFC, suggested to have a privileged role in processing remote spatial memories, was evident at shorter time intervals after learning in EE mice; in addition, EE induced the progressive activation of a distributed cortical network not activated in non-EE mice. This suggests that EE not only accelerates the process of mPFC recruitment but also recruits additional cortical areas into the network supporting remote spatial memories.

Autor: Joyce Bonaccorsi, Simona Cintoli, Rosa Mastrogiacomo, Sigrid Baldanzi, Chiara Braschi, Tommaso Pizzorusso, Maria Cristina Ce



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